Thanks to a prosthetic, 11-year-old Chhouk, an Asian elephant, who lost his foot to a snare when he was just one year old, is able to walk, run, and swim.
Chhouk sought sanctuary with Cambodia’s Wildlife Alliance, a conservation organization that collaborated with Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK to finance the prosthetic foot. Old tires are among the recycled materials used to create the prosthetic.
The 27-year-old owner of Paradise Wildlife Park and Big Cat Sanctuary, Cam Whitnall, and his family are committed to supporting animal welfare initiatives throughout the world. When considering Chhouk’s metamorphosis, Cam said, “It’s incredible—you can’t help but smile.” Seeing what we’re doing to conserve and assist not just in Chhouk but globally is a truly unique occasion. Helping animals is the best feeling in the world. He is receiving excellent care, and his life is now wonderful. Nothing feels better than this.
Chhouk can now run, walk, and swim without difficulty at all.
For the past five years, Paradise Wildlife Park has supported Chhouk’s initiatives to obtain prosthetic feet, and this is not the first, but rather the most recent in the series. A new prosthetic is needed every six months due to Chhouk’s continued growth; this process is overseen by a university in Cambodia.
In order to facilitate the easy replacement of the prosthetic and guarantee that the stump is cleaned to prevent infections, keepers entice Chhouk with delicious treats.
These prosthetics, which are made of recycled rubber and fastened with Velcro, each weigh about 20 kg. “They use food and a clipping mechanism to ʡet him to turn and adjust his body and are then able to give him a thorough look over to make sure there are no ̖s̔ᴜe̔,” said Cam Whitnall, the manager of Paradise Wildlife Park.
The total amount of funding allocated for these prosthetics each year is roughly £1,200. During Chhouk’s visit to Cambodia at the end of the previous year, Cam formed a close bond.
“In the video, I’m noticeably joyful for a good reason—it’s a rare opportunity to photograph and write about an elephant in such a meaningful way,” Cam remarked of the encounter.